What was your first job? I operated the Flying Pigs funfair ride at the top of an Adelaide department store when I was 16 and I was pretty damned good at it. I’d put kids on the rides, get them off, make sure their mums didn’t panic as they whirled around and picked up girls while getting paid a couple of dollars in the process.
How did you end up in the IT industry? When I graduated, the public service was a big recruiter of people. Every year, they’d go around to high schools and universities to drag students in to sit for exams. The test for the computer job in Canberra had 15,000 applicants nationally and there was less than 100 who got in. In 1966, I transferred to the Department of Defence in Canberra, got trained as a computer operator and it all started there.
How did you progress to where you are today? I left the public service in 1970 and went overseas to work for an English building society before coming back and joining General Motors in 1972. I left GM to join International Computers (ICL) in 1973 and served a number of roles till 1973, when I crossed to Honeywell as a sales director. Before joining ACS, I worked for Symantec and my last job was senior director responsible for channels in Asia-Pacific and Japan. I got there through the merger with Veritas, where I was the managing director for software. I’ve done a lot of work with your readers over the years.
What is the biggest achievement of your career? I couldn’t single out one event. I’ve had a very exciting career to date and without a single boring day. I’ve met a lot of really entertaining, intelligent and engaging people and along the way I’ve done some good business with most people.
What do you dislike most about the IT industry? I can’t think of a bad thing to say about the IT industry. I’m in here because it stimulates me everyday. New people, new moves and new technology in the marketplace – it’s anything but boring.
Why the move from private industry to the ACS? I thought I had something to offer. The ACS has a very strong brand, it’s well established in the marketplace and it represents people I’ve worked with for a lot of years. I thought I had skills and experience that could help the society and its members, plus I thought it was about that time in my career when I thought about things like that.
So retirement never crossed your mind? Nope. Why would you want to retire when you’re in a business you enjoy and you think you’re achieving something everyday? With the passage of time, the idea of pulling up stumps and going home comes to all of us but I just don’t see that date for me yet.